Saturday, May 21, 2016

Some economic thoughts on London

I'm in London right now.  I've been here for about a week leading a study-abroad trip.  It's been great overall, although unfortunately one student has been quite ill.  (She is getting better, thankfully.)

Some thoughts about London (and beyond London):

* Differences in the exchange rate makes a big difference to London's affordability.  The rate now is about 1.45 dollars/pound vs. 1.60 when I spent four months here in 2012.  But that means everything is about 10% cheaper.  Mentally it seems like London is much more affordable.

* London is expensive, but it only seems more expensive than central Pennsylvania for three reasons: housing is expensive, food at restaurants is expensive, and drinks at restaurants are expensive.  Entertainment, tours, clothing, etc. seem no more expensive than the states.

* West End theatre tickets are less expensive than Broadway.  And it isn't close.  For the cheapest ticket to Funny Girl - I paid 25 pounds.  That converts to about $36.  To compare - I bought a cheap ticket to a musical for June in New York called Waitress - that ticket was about $70.

* The tube is fantastic.  Public transportation only makes sense with a critical mass of people - but it is awesome when you have that.  It is just so convenient.  I recall hearing that the London transportation system (buses, tube, etc.) loses money.  But that's actually OK, as they would have spent some money on roads anyway without this system.

* Cambridge is a lovely city, and punting is fun!

Some pictures

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Elaborating on the amount Hamilton ticker resellers make

I was quoted in this Bloomberg story as saying:

At least $30,000 from every show goes to ticket resellers instead of the musical’s investors, producers and cast, according to Matt Rousu, an economics professor at Susquehanna University. With eight shows a week, that comes out to $240,000 every seven days, or almost $12.5 million a year filling the pockets of brokers, he said.

How did I come up with my estimate of $30,000?

Resale tickets rarely sell for less than $800 on ticketmaster.  Some sell for $1500-$2000.  The average price of a ticket from the Richard Rodgers Theatre is about $100-$200.  So that means we can conservatively estimate $600+ per resold ticket is going to resellers.

If you look at Ticketmaster, there are resale tickets available - and usually from 50-200 seats for sale for each show.

If you assume that just 50 tickets are sold on the resale market (likely way too low) and resellers are getting $600 per ticket (also low), you come up with an estimate of "at least $30,000" going to resellers.  In reality, it is probably much more.

Quoted in a Bloomberg story about the musical Hamilton

Link here

It starts:
The Broadway hit “Hamilton” is making millions. It could be making millions more if not for scalpers snapping up seats and hawking them for $2,000 a piece or more.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I'm presenting Thursday night ... Free and open to public

I'll be presenting a very brief (trying for 6 minutes) talk on Broadway Economics Thursday night.  The event is free and open to the public, and there are three other professors who will also present (again, in 6 minutes or less).

Here's the write-up distributed by the Honor's Program:
The Honors Program is hosting "360 Second Lectures" with Professor Ramsaran, Professor Kelsey, Professor Rousu, and Professor Viker.​ Join us for an evening featuring distinguished professors sharing their knowledge on various topics of their choice in hopefully under 360 seconds! The event will be held on Thursday, April 21 in Degenstein Meeting Rooms 1-3 at 7:30 PM.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Malnutrition in Cuba

I came across this passage today (link here):
... access to food is the Cuban people’s most pressing daily preoccupation and that many come up so short that, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, malnutrition is the plurality cause for hospital admissions in Cuba (41 percent).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My Q&A about Broadway Economics with ECNMY.ORG

Link here

I am excited about the new website being formed in the UK, ECNMY.ORG, to help make economics more accessible.  They published an interview with me about Broadway Economics, which you can find here.  Excerpt:

From ‘Money Money Money’ (Mamma Mia) to ‘You Gotta Get A Gimmick’ (Gypsy), the site features a stack of songs from many different Broadway shows, from Evita to Once, and provides ways in that make concepts like marginal utility a little less intimidating.
We spoke to the person behind the site, economics professor Matthew Rousu.